This past Saturday, my Running Clinic crew went to the track and learned how to go through a proper dynamic warm-up and then practiced fartlek running. They were AMAZING!!! The weather lucked out, they had great positive energy, and there have been leaps and bounds of improvement in everyone.
Below I have copied the email that I have sent them as their follow-up, as I think anyone, regardless of wanting to run a race or simply improve their cardio conditioning, will benefit from this type of workout. Included is information on breathing properly when running, something that is especially important as the air gets colder and thinner and our lungs are more challenged.
You all did AMAZING on Saturday! It's always hard to get out and run for the first time, especially with a group, but I'm so impressed with what I saw from everyone and I can already see a lot of improvement from the first time I saw you all run the first Saturday.
All of the warm-up drills you did are going to help you nail that perfect running form, with the running pose being the foundation of it. Again, all of the drills are easy to do somewhere in your house, or at least in your yard or driveway and are really important to get your body totally ready to run and avoid feeling hurt or still later. Best thing I heard was that the running part wasn't so bad because the warm-up helped!
Here's what you guys did:
1. Jog (anywhere between 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile, you guys did 1/2, or two laps around the track)
2. Butt Kicks-2x20 per leg. Make sure your foot is flexed and your knee is staying underneath you and not coming forward.
3. Knee Hug Walks: 2x15 per leg. Grab under the knee (not directly on it) to help bring the knee to your chest.
4. Inch Worm: 2x10. Really emphasize the bending over to touch your toes. This will help warm-up and improve the flexibility in your hamstrings.
5. Walking Lunges: 20/leg. Stretch those legs out and use the heel of your front leg to power through and stand back up.
6. A-Skips: 2x20 per leg. Remember to bring that knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.
7. Tuck Jumps or Squats: 2x10. If you do the jumps, bring those thighs up as high as you can and be sure to bend your knees when you land to protect them. If you do the squats, keep your weight in your heels to remove the pressure from your knees.
You all did really well with this part! Based on your ability, just pick a distance to do a fast burst (stop sign to stop sign, sprint to a treee, sprint the straight-aways) and then run/walk at a relaxed pace until your next sprint. It doesn't need to be timed or a consistent distance!! http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/whats-difference-between-fartlek-tempo-and-interval-runs
Remember you only want to do a workout like this about once a week, and never more than 60 minutes. Start at 30 or 35 minutes if you'd like. It's all about speed play and helping build your cardio endurance and stamina in your lungs and legs.
Make it work for you and your ability!
When the weather gets cool, the air gets thinner and it gets harder to control our breath and our lungs get extra challenged. A lot of people ask how to better breathe when running, as this helps preserve energy and keep you calm. I always tell people, including myself, to breathe in deeply for a count of 3, then breathe out for a count of 3. Here's a link to a great article which explains the art of breathing while running: http://www.
One more thing, I believe that everyone benefits, especially runners, by improving and maintaining flexibility and suppleness in their muscles. A great resource we have at Rhino for this are the Yoga and Pilates classes. I highly suggest that everyone tries one.
If evening classes are your thing, Robyn teaches class at 7PM on Mondays and Wednesdays. If mornings are better, try the Thursday at 9:30AM or Friday at 10:30AM. Robyn's classes have helped me recover and they are also great settings to learn stretches and moves to do on your own.